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Pacay is one of the most unusual fruits on earth. Inside these huge pods is a sweet, frothy pulp that is a special favorite of children. (H. Popenoe)


outside Latin America the edible pods at present are hardly exploited. The development of markets for the pods could contribute additional income to local farmers.

Fruit trees such as ingas are underutilized in reforestation efforts. Give a peasant a pine tree and it's likely to be neglected, but give him a fruit tree and he'll protect it with his life, especially if it is productive.

Inga has major potential for acid soils in the lowland humid tropics, especially in Southeast Asia and Africa. As a nitrogen-fixing, multipurpose tree that can be used to produce fruit, fuel, and green manure, it should find ready acceptance by farmers. The wide range of agricultural systems within which it can be integrated include hedgerow intercropping,6 live fences, shade trees for plantation crops or animals, and fuelwood plantations.

Industrialized Regions. Most ingas are frost-sensitive tropical trees with little or no potential for cultivation in Europe, North America, Japan, or most of Australasia. Their pods do not ship well, so the possibility for ice-cream beans to be on dinner tables is slight.


6 This involves growing trees in rows and crops in the alleys formed between the tree rows. The trees are pruned periodically to provide mulch and nutrients for the crops while minimizing competition for nutrients and water. Ingas seem ideally suited for such purposes. Information from P.A. Sánchez.


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